Nicky is an applied health researcher, with broad interests in the effectiveness and efficiency of health and social care.
Most of Nicky’s research has been in wound care where her goal is to work with patients and clinicians to answer important questions about the causes of wounds and effective treatments and ultimately to enhance health outcomes. In the past Nicky’s work has mainly been in the area of chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers and leg ulcers however acute wounds are increasingly a focus of her work (e.g., surgical wounds healing by secondary intention). Until 2019, Nicky led the Wound Care Programme in the Greater Manchester CLAHRC (funded by NIHR) and currently co-leads the Wound Healing Programme in the Dermatology Theme of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre. Since 2019 Nicky has led the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for Greater Manchester.
Nicky’s research group has undertaken several large NIHR HTA funded trials (VenUS I, II, III, IV and PRESSURE) which have shown, in terms of leg ulcer healing, that the four layer compression bandage is more effective than the short stretch bandage, that medicinal larval therapy is no more effective than standard care, that ultrasound therapy confers no therapeutic advantage. VenUS IV found that compression hosiery was a cost-effective treatment for venous leg ulcers relative to 4-layer compression bandages.
The PRESSURE Trial established that alternating pressure mattresses are more cost-effective than (cheaper) alternating pressure overlays. Current research includes study of surgical wounds that break down – a common but under-researched phenomenon.
Nicky was a founding member of the Cochrane Collaboration and is Joint Coordinating Editor of Cochrane Wounds; a collaboration that has published more than 150 systematic reviews in wound care to date (some of the most highly accessed reviews of the Cochrane Library).
Nicky uses randomised controlled trials, observational designs and qualitative research to better understand complex wounds, their causes, and to identify cost-effective preventive and treatment interventions.